Author: Ayaz Kohli
Publisher: Rupa Publications
Snakes In The Meadows is a narrative of the onset of militancy and resilience of people, of the hilly village of Pathri Aali, Jammu & Kashmir. The book shows the lack of recognition and ignorance of authorities towards the village and its people, resulting into militants’ power, cruelty and torture, turning like heaven like meadows into prison of hell.
Along with the protagonists, Aslam and Ashwar, the story centers zillion other characters. The misery and atrocities put up by the militants is horrific. The clashes between the militants, Indian Army and the villagers worsen the situation. The women are raped, children molested and men beaten, everyone is shaken from inside. The notorious militant groups lure the teenagers into their trap with money and when they decline, are murdered brutally. This circus continues and as the population of male sex fall the women are left to fend for themselves, and yet there are hopeful to stand against the demons.
NUTs and BOLTs
- The author has amalgamated many stories, each having an independent storyline, yet bound together to present a single message.
- The author hints at the challenges and fright of the people residing in such remote areas. The lack of response of government on the important aspects of Kashmir, because of which the people have to wage a battle to defend and protect themselves.
- The various subplots and shift in narrative makes the plot a bit confusing.
- The plots are a mix of the tales of different families in the village, there happy-go-lucky-times and that of militants (Mujahideen) and Pakistani terrorism activities. The author has made an effort to maintain a balance.
- Despite being fictional, the characters succeed in catching the hold of readers’ empathy.
- The book is captive to arose numerable emotions like love, courage, bravery, disgust, hatred, and humanity.
- The cover page earns +1.
(Book received as a review copy from Half Baked Beans Publishing)